Monday, August 1, 2011

Zucchini Lasagna and Zucchini Parmesan

Stone Gardens Farm, Connecticut
Zucchini is a most prolific plant. Plant a seed and get lots and lots and LOTS of squash. Because of its abundant output, recipes for zucchini abound-- breads, muffins, gratins, scrambles-- name a dish and someone has probably tried to make it with zucchini, or find a way to put zucchini in it. And I'm no exception. I've made cobbler, bread, muffins, pancakes, put it in chilies and stews, fried it, roasted it, blanched it, stir-fried it, put it into salads and soups.
You'll find the recipe for Zucchini Cobbler in a previous blog. This week I'm honoring my zucchini using some traditional Italian American recipes: Lasagna and Parmesan.
My shares continue to offer dark greens, which I work into the Bechamel Sauce for the lasagna, adding flavor, texture and more nutrition.
The Zucchini Parmesan is prepared as a casserole. It starts out with the breading and frying, then is layered in a baking dish with sauce and cheese and baked. Both can be frozen, bringing summer flavors into the winter months.

Green and White Lasagna with Summer Squash

1 bunch greens (turnip, kale or beet)
2 large summer squash or zucchini
 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces Parmesan cheese
 8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
8 ounces mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9” x 13” pan.
2. Trim and wash the greens. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the greens and simmer for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water until cool. Squeeze as much moisture as you can from them. Chop finely. Thinly slice the zucchini or squash crosswise. Mince the garlic
3. Grate the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
4. Make a béchamel: melt the butter in a saucepan and add the garlic.  Add flour and stir until combined. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and add the bay leaves, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add half of the Parmesan cheese. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
5. Combine the ricotta, egg and salt and stir until smooth
6. Distribute 1/2 cup béchamel sauce in bottom of baking dish; position 3 noodles on top of sauces. Stir the chopped greens into the rest of the béchamel.
7. Spread 1 cup greens mixture on top of noodles. Lay slices of squash over the sauce. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan and top with 3 more noodles. Spread one cup spinach mixture evenly of noodles, layer with squash and sprinkle evenly with 1 cup mozzarella and top with 3 more noodles. Spread with 1 cup of greens mixture followed by ricotta mixture. Finish with 3 noodles, remaining greens and remaining mozzarella.
8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and broil until cheese is spotty brown, 4-6 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Zucchini Parmigiana
This is just like my recipe for Eggplant Parmesan with a few differences: I would peel the eggplant and if it is a very large eggplant, I'd salt the slices and let drain for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry before starting the breading process. This will alleviate some of the bitterness that a lot of eggplant seeds can bring.
8 servings
2 eggs
1 ounce Parmesan cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons parsley leaves
2 large zucchini
black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup flour
2 cups breadcrumbs
olive oil, for frying
2 cups marinara sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grate the Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese and mince the garlic. Mince the parsley.
3. Cut the zucchini crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds.
4. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl or cake pan and add the cheese, parsley, pepper, and garlic. Place the flour in another shallow pan, and the breadcrumbs in a third.
5. Dredge the zucchini in the flour, dip into the eggs and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat with all slices.
6. Heat 1 inch of oil in a heavy skillet. Fry each slice until golden brown on each side.
7. Spoon just enough of the marinara sauce into a square baking pan (9”x10”) to cover the bottom of the pan. Layer the zucchini slices, sauce and cheese, finishing with sauce and cheese.
8. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and cheese melts.
Hanson's Farm, Massachusetts

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